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Learning and development in a commercial context - making the connection

Over the last 3 years there has been more change in the commercial and government context than we have seen in the last 15 years. Phil Garing (Synapsys) has been working across sectors and has explored the different contexts, and so is in a great place to draw the commonalities across them. 

The emergence of the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) in the executive team is now an increasingly popular position. Given this the Deloitte report around learning and development is of interest - there is a big ramping up in the expectations in the ability to develop learning. Sixty percent of organisations + believe there is a lot of work to be done.

Learning is critical to enable staff to keep pace with the rate of change.The challenges that all organisations are facing are very similar. Learning and development used to be a bit fluffy. It was an expense line in a budget, but a bit unclear. It is, Phil shares, something that organisations need to continue to get really serious about this. The conversations in learning and development entities is beginning to change.

Flipped curricula is becoming more popular in the sector. The starting point is "we have a problem, what is the benefit we will get", then define the change, develop the programme and measure the impact...rather than sending employees on a pre-defined course or qualification. Instead they are defining the whole learning experience, and then go out to see what they can map after the design of the programme. Alongside is a growing emphasis on well-designed, well-facilitated buddy models.

One of the important aspects that is now being looked for is evidence that a learning intervention is helping to address a problem. This includes research around engagement, and on the job application. 

So what can be learned from the commercial sector? 

  • Measuring the application to the job is a part of the evaluation process (Return on Investment)
  • High end solutions are becoming more based on big data and analytics
  • Sometimes digging deep into the data is not appropriate, and it's necessary to fall back on the qualitative data
  • It's important to understand the drivers in the workplace / job
  • Partners or suppliers? Looking at similarities as well a differences.

The increasing awareness in the commercial sector that change requires learning experiences that are applied and contextualised, is, I feel, exciting. In part, it recognises the way people learn effectively, and the power of learning on the job rather than going out to find or locate some sort of professional development and qualification.

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